Thursday, December 20, 2012

1212.4501 (Luis A. Correa et al.)

Performance bound for quantum absorption refrigerators    [PDF]

Luis A. Correa, José P. Palao, Gerardo Adesso, Daniel Alonso
An implementation of quantum absorption chillers with three qubits has been recently proposed, that is ideally able to reach the Carnot performance regime. Here we study the working efficiency of such self-contained refrigerators, adopting a consistent treatment of dissipation effects. We demonstrate that the coefficient of performance at maximum cooling power is upper bounded by 3/4 of the Carnot performance. The result is independent of the details of the system and the equilibrium temperatures of the external baths. We provide design prescriptions that saturate the bound in the limit of a large difference between the operating temperatures. Our study suggests that "nonlocal dissipation", which must be taken into account for a proper modelling of the machine-baths interaction, is a fundamental source of irreversibility which prevents the refrigerator from approaching the Carnot performance arbitrarily closely in practice. The potential role of quantum correlations in the operation of these machines is also investigated.
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